D. A. R. E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Program)
D.A.R.E. was initiated because there continues to be an alarming increase in drug use among young people. Statistics show that 1 in 12 young people smoke marijuana regularly. Use of inhalants and other "designer drugs" is rising also. While use of illicit drugs overall is falling nationally, the trend of drug abuse among young people continues to grow.
In the last few years, the number of young people between the ages of 12 and 17 using hallucinogens, including LSD, has gone up 183 percent, according to a recent study by the federal government. The same study found that marijuana use among kids has jumped 105 percent; cocaine use has increased 166 percent; 4.5 million kids smoke cigarettes; and 10 million people under the age of 21 have had a drink in the last month.
Many teens think smoking, drinking and using exotic drugs are passports to adulthood. Rather than emphasizing traditional scare tactics that highlight the harmful effects of drugs, D.A.R.E. tries to teach students what being grown-up really means: not giving in to peer pressure, making your own decisions, and learning to cope with life's challenges in positive ways.
This year 35 million school children around the world -- 26 million in the United States -- will benefit from D.A.R.E., the highly acclaimed program that gives kids the skills they need to avoid involvement in drugs, gangs, or violence. D.A.R.E. was founded in 1983 in Los Angeles and has proven so successful that it is now being implemented in nearly 75 percent of our nation's school districts and in more than 44 countries around the world.
D.A.R.E. is a police officer-led series of classroom lessons that teach children how to resist peer pressure and live drug and violence free lives. D.A.R.E. goes beyond traditional drug abuse and violence prevention programs. The program emphasis of D.A.R.E. is to help students recognize and resist the many subtle and overt pressures that cause them to experiment with drugs or become involved in gangs or violent activities. In addition, program strategies are planned to focus on feelings relating to self esteem, interpersonal and communication skills, decision making, and positive alternatives to drug behavior.
D.A.R.E. Officers are specially trained to instruct the program. The D.A.R.E. curriculum was designed to be taught by police officers whose training and experience gave them the background needed to answer the sophisticated and difficult questions often posed by young students about drugs and crime. Prior to entering the D.A.R.E. Program, officers undergo 80 hours of special training in areas such as child development, classroom management, teaching techniques, and communication skills.
Some Practical Suggestions for Young People, Parents and School Staff
- Settle arguments with words, not fists or weapons.
- Report crimes or suspicious activities the S.R.O., school authorities or parents.
- Do not use alcohol or drugs and stay away from places and people associated with them.
- Get involved in your school's S.A.D.D. chapter and volunteer to counsel your peers.
- Sharpen your parenting skills.
- Teach your children how to reduce their risk of being victims of crime.
- Know where your kids are, what they are doing, and who they are with at all times.
- Help your child to learn nonviolent ways to handle frustration, anger and conflict.
- Become involved in your child's school activities, PTO functions and helping out in your child's class or lunchroom.
- Work with other parents in your neighborhood to start a McGruff House or other block parent programs.
- Model conflict resolution skills in front of your children.
- Evaluate your school's safety objectively. Set goals for improvement.
- Develop consistent disciplinary policies, good security procedures, and a response plan for emergencies.
- Educate and train personnel in conflict resolution, problem solving, crisis intervention and cultural sensitivity.
- Work with parents, students, law enforcement, state governments, and community-based groups to develop wider-scope crime prevention efforts such as Drug-Free and Gun-Free School zones.
Tips for Parents:
- Educate yourself about drugs, so you can talk informatively with your children and answer their questions.
- Establish family rules that make the use of drugs non-negotiable.
- Since peer pressure is a major factor in teen drug use, know your children's friends.
- Talk with other parents. Try to establish uniform rules that make access to drugs harder for your children and their friends, such as a curfew, the amount of spending money they receive, and their use of a car.
-If problems arise, seek advice and council immediately from someone both you and your children respect.